We will leave our options open as to where we go from here
London Welsh are set to play in the English Premiership next season after winning an appeal against a Rugby Football Union decision to block their promotion.
Despite winning the second-tier Championship, London Welsh were originally denied a place in the top flight after being told they had failed to meet the minimum standards required of a Premiership club.
But their appeal was heard Thursday and an independent panel spent most of Friday considering their verdict before finding in favour of London Welsh.
The verdict condemned Newcastle to relegation after the north-east club finished bottom of the Premiership last season.
London Welsh were initially told they had failed the minimum standards audit primarily because they did not meet the requirement for primacy of tenure.
In effect, that meant London Welsh, whose existing Richmond base in south-west London is deemed unsuitable for top-flight rugby, were not allowed to share the Kassam Stadium with Oxford United even though three existing Premiership teams co-habit with football clubs.
London Welsh argued the primacy of tenure rule breached UK and European competition law and was therefore void and unenforceable.
The three-man appeal panel, comprised of lawyers James Dingemans, Ian Mill and Tim Ward, agreed.
"We upheld London Welsh's complaint and concluded that the Primacy of Tenure rule gave rise to an unjustified distortion of competition, contrary to UK and EU competition law," the panel said in a statement.
London Welsh issued a statement of their own hailing their success as a triumph for the principle of promotion being decided on the field.
"It is not only a victory for London Welsh, its players, coaching staff and all its supporters but also for sport in general and the game of rugby union in particular, reinforcing the ethos and fundamental sporting ethic that the best team should receive the appropriate rewards."
Meanwhile the RFU said they would launch an urgent review of the minimum standards criteria savaged by the appeal panel.
"The decision taken by the RFU Board was based entirely upon the results of the independent auditor's report in accordance with the Minimum Standard Criteria [MSC], as set out by the Professional Game Board [PGB]," RFU Chief Executive Officer Ian Ritchie said.
"We will now instigate a full review of the MSC, working within the PGB, with the aim of ensuring all stakeholders are agreed on the process going forward.
"The RFU considers this matter closed which will now enable all clubs to continue their planning for the 2012-13 season."
There is no rugby mechanism through which Newcastle can appeal and any challenge would have to come through the courts.
Although keeping their options open, the Falcons' initial response indicated they would rebuild in the Championship, as Newcastle's new Director of Rugby Dean Richards did when in charge of Harlequins, where he laid the foundations for the reigning Premiership champions' success.
"We do not underestimate the competitiveness and challenges we face in the Championship but under the tutelage of Dean Richards we will have one, and only one goal - to win," said a Newcastle statement.
"Dean has been in this situation with Harlequins and he understands what it takes to navigate through the Championship, whilst putting together a team that will be successful with immediate effect on our return to the Premiership.
"We are extremely disappointed with the decision and the representations witnessed at the appeal hearing and we will leave our options open as to where we go from here.
"In this new era everyone at the club will be committed to delivering a successful future and a first class experience at Kingston Park. After the disappointment of the decision coming out of the appeal hearing in London, we implore the region to get behind the club to prove what a wonderful and passionate region we are for rugby.
"The last time the club was in a similar situation in 1996/97 we bounced straight back and won the Allied Dunbar Premiership trophy in 1997/98 and it is our ambition to replicate similar success.
"Winning rugby will be a habit at the Falcons and we expect to bring attacking and exciting play for our fans to enjoy. Add some semifinals, finals and trophies to the mix and it will be a season to remember."